Library battle plan is finalised

Coun Harry Harpham receives a business plan for the community takeover of Stannington Library.
Coun Harry Harpham receives a business plan for the community takeover of Stannington Library.

Campaigners have finalised proposals to take over the running of their community library - handing over their business plan to Sheffield Council.

Members of STAND - the Stannington and District Library Group - presented their blueprint to deputy council leader Coun Harry Harpham outside the Town Hall.

But group chair Jenny van Tinteren said the library closure plans remained highly unpopular.

“We urged members to reconsider their decision, or at least build better levels of support for community libraries into the plans,” she said.

The campaigners’ plans include provision for employing qualified library staff on a part-time basis, supplemented by volunteers.

But Jenny said that even though the business plan was strong and there was a high level of public support behind it, the situation was far from ideal.

“We feel that volunteers cannot fully substitute for professional and experienced librarians such as those currently employed by the council,” she said.

“We told Councillor Harpham that people in Stannington, like those in all the communities faced with library closures, do not want to see jobs go, or lose what they see as a very important facility.”

The business plan reveals results of a survey carried out in the area of more than 100 people, who were asked what sort of library service they wanted to see.

Maintaining a council-run library was chosen by 57 per cent, with 26 per cent wanting a council-community partnership and 17 per cent wanting the community to take control.

Jenny said: “We want the city council to know this and to let it inform their next actions. In addition, 1,534 people signed the petition opposing the council’s proposal to close the library - which is modern and purpose-built .”

Stannington is one of 16 libraries across the city threatened with closure.